NY Christian Farm Owners Will No Longer Host Any Wedding Ceremonies After Fined $13K for Refusing Lesbian Ceremony
The owners of a New York farm, who were fined $13,000 for "discriminating" against same-sex couples by refusing a wedding service to a lesbian couple due to their religious convictions, have now decided not to hold any marriage ceremonies even though it will likely hurt their business.
A month after a judge ruled that the farm owned by Cynthia and Robert Gifford is a public accommodation and therefore they must abide by the N.Y. anti-discrimination law, the couple has decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their property, according to Alliance Defending Freedom.
"Since the order essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions, even though it will likely hurt their business in the short run," TheBlaze quoted ADF attorney James Trainor as saying.
The Christian couple, the owners of Liberty Ridge Farm located in Schaghticoke, will continue to host wedding receptions, including that of same-sex couples, on the grounds.
"The government should not force anyone to participate in or celebrate an event that violates their faith and beliefs. However, that's exactly what the state of New York has done to the Giffords," ADF said. "The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples."
The Giffords, who are Christian and hold the belief that marriage is restricted to one man and one woman, say they were simply exercising their religious liberties when they refused service to Jennie McCarthy and Melissa Erwin of Albany, N.Y. The farm owners told the couple they could hold their reception on the property, but not the ceremony.
McCarthy and Erwin filed a discrimination complaint with the state Division of Human Rights in October 2012.
Erwin told WNYT-TV at the time that when she told Cynthia Gifford that she planned on marrying her girlfriend of three years at the farm wedding ceremony next summer, Cynthia Gifford reportedly said "Well, now we have a problem."
When Erwin asked why, Gifford reportedly responded: "My husband and I have been married a really long time and it's great that you're getting married, but you can't do it here."
Last month, Judge Migdalia Pares ordered that the Giffords must abide by the state anti-discrimination regulations and pay a $10,000 fine along with $1,500 each to McCarthy and Erwin.